ATR42-300, EI-SLD, 18 January 2007

ATR42-300, EI-SLD


Soon after takeoff from London Stansted Airport the aircraft developed a yawing motion which persisted as a yawing/rolling motion of varying severity. The yaw damper could not be engaged. An emergency was declared and the aircraft returned to Stansted. No mechanical fault was found which would have caused the motion, although an undetected and intermittent fault affecting components within the rudder control system could have degraded the aircraft’s handling characteristics with the yaw damper not engaged, as could a takeoff with the rudder control system incorrectly configured. The nature of the motion and observed control deflections were such that an inadvertent and inappropriate rudder input by a pilot would have been required for the oscillations to persist. Four Safety Recommendations were made, concerning operational advice to flight crews and ongoing serviceability checks for Flight Data Recorders (FDRs)

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